Planar City of Lost Dreams
Do you remember the story of the Artificers, my friend? I doubt you do, for they come from a land that is far removed from our own. Men of artifice have no business in the realm of Greyhawk, a land dominated by magic in its majestic infancy, wielded my men naïve with the greatness of their craft.
The men of artifice, the Artificers, the makers of things both beautiful and functionary, hail from a far off world called Eberron. In this land, artifice is closer to a trade than an esoteric study. The creations of artifice—machines, they are called—helped forge a new age of convenience for the lowly masses (or so I am told). Artifice is closer to the masses than magic could ever be in our society.
But in Eberron, artifice and magic go hand in hand, creating a new sort of science: technology. The sustainability of artifice combined with the wonder of magic bred a new discipline that is as much the scholar’s research as it is the tradesman’s craft. Technology created advances that put to shame the mainstays of our modern lives: the horse drawn carriage, the soldier’s sword, the farmer’s plough. They have even taken to the skies themselves like dragons on the wing.
So when I tell you that there is another world which has followed the same path as Eberron, and that they have evolved without even the barest shred of magic, I want you to understand my full meaning. Somewhere, buried far away in their own cosmology, there exists a civilization that grew from its primitive roots into a superpower of technology, growing beyond our feeble devices and constructs with such alarming alacrity that we should count ourselves lucky they have no knowledge of the planar cosmology. Indeed, their grasp of magic is so rudimentary that for me to cast a light spell would send them into foaming madness at the supposed impossibility of something so common in our own world.
But how can I know this? Truthfully, if you have been listening carefully this society has know knowledge of planar matters. How does one simply “stumble across” a sealed away plane, when for all accounts they have done nothing to signal their existence to us? That, my friend, is the purpose of our meeting. It would be impossible for one mage—nay, a dozen men of archmage status—to find such an obscure and magically stunted plane. However, by a miracle of existence, our own cosmology stumbled across their own.
By some fluke of the whimsical nature of the planes, a small portion of the Plane of Shadow suddenly overlapped this strange magic-less plane. It engulfed a large city, consuming its residents and its technology, sending it and the surrounding landscape into darkness. But this magic-less plane rebelled against the Plane of Shadow. Magic is anathema to it, for why else would an entire world forsake the wonders of magic? It rejected the Plane of Shadow, casting it from itself with a great shudder.
But the damage was done. The darkness lifted from the plane, but the city was gone. It had been lifted off the surface of the world, like a pebble in a shoe. One can only imagine the outcry, both ecologically as well as politically. A great city, gone from the face of their existence. There was no way they could know, or even understand, that their great city was snatched up by the Plane of Shadow.
How a material city can exist on a shadow plane is still under speculation. No one really understands why the Plane of Shadow converged with this Material Plane in the first place. But the aftermath of such a bonding was easy to predict: the Plane of Shadow was forced to disgorge the city like so much rancid meat from an animal. But to where?
That part, my friend, is easy to explain right now. If you have been particularly astute, you will have noticed that I have said, repeatedly, that there was no way we could find this plane on our own. So the story I have told you has been constructed retroactively! The one true fact of this story is that we have found a magnificent city floating on its own demiplane, host to no magical residue beyond the shadowy magic of the plane that stole it from its original resting place.
And that is the important detail I have just now shared with you, and I apologize for keeping you in suspense. Suffice to say, we have found a small demiplane of existence with a great city in it, of a scope that rivals a fiefdom! And while there is no magic to be found in this place, it is host to a great many contraptions that a scholar such as I would pay handsomely for. I have the list of planar jump points with me that carry instructions that will lead to this new vista of knowledge. All that remains is your own opinion. Are you interested?